NAME: Carthage
COUNTY: Socorro
GRID #(see map): 5
CLIMATE: Mild winter, warm summer
Spring, winter, fall
COMMENTS: Much Remains
REMAINS: Much Remains
Carthage has a history like no other. It was the site of the first coal mine worked in New Mexico. It was called the Government Mine and was worked by U.S. Army soldiers in the early 1860s to supply the needs of Forts Selden, Bayard, and Stanton. The Santa Fe Railroad constructed a bridge across the Rio Grande River to a point near Carthage. This nurtured the town into the busiest coal mining camp in New Mexico and in 1889 Carthage had a population of three hundred people. When Congress refused to issue a patent for a grant on which the mines were located, the Santa Fe Railroad tore up the tracks and moved Carthage lock, stock and barrel to Madrid in Santa Fe County. This happened in 1893. The site lay dormant until about 1903 when some citizens from San Antonio reopened to mines. Carthage awoke with new vigor. In the 1907, the population and risen to a thousand residents. Today, the town is abandoned but enough remains to see what once was a thriving mining town including a reasonably well-preserved cemetery. Courtesy Henry Chenoweth.


Hello, I have some bad news about Carthage. Yesterday, I went to visit the ghost town of Carthage in Socorro County, New Mexico. Unfortunately, the ghost town of Carthage has been mostly destroyed and removed in the name of a "desert restoration project." At this point, everything that is not native stone has been relocated into piles at a nearby dump site, leaving only the few stone structures behind. Large piles of worn wood and corroded tin at the nearby dump testify that Carthage had been much more than a few low stone walls, but it seems the government does not value the historical significance of this town. The mine tailings have been leveled and covered with surrounding soil, and are ringed with concentric rows of retaining material to fight corrosion. Each of these zones is fenced off from its surrounding region with barbed wire. The "restoration" project is being done by our government, funded by the present coal mining industry. Very tragic. Almost nothing remains. There are a few low walls of crumbling stone, the cement foundation of a what was once probably a tipple, and the foundation of a large adobe structure with brick chimneys which are still half standing. A grade of earth remains where the railroad tracks came in towards the mine. That's it. The rest of the town lies in piled heaps at a location a mile away, along with all sorts of junk, car parts, and the remains of an old lode car. Gregory Zolas, April 2 2000